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Health

Bill Would Boost Reimbursement Rates, Pay For Long-Term Care Workers In Maine

Maine's Health and Human Services Committee is considering a bill on Monday that aims to support and grow the state's long-term care workforce.

During a virtual press conference, Jess Maurer of the Maine Council on Aging said five years ago, 5,000 hours of home care work went undelivered every week due to the workforce shortage. Now, that number has more than doubled.

"Currently there are over 500 older people who are Section 19 members who are getting no care each week at all, despite being nursing home eligible. Thousands more are waiting for care on waitlists," she said.

Maine's long-term care ombudsman, Brenda Gallant, said that facilities are unable to attract and retain workers because of low reimbursement rates.

"I just can't stress enough that this has been a longstanding problem and it will take really all of our efforts ongoing to address it," she sys.

The proposed bill, LD 1573, would boost reimbursement rates and workers' pay. It would also establish an oversight committee to collect and compile data related to workforce issues.